Officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that Turkey’s support for Palestinian security authorities in the field of training and capacity building will strengthen their resistance against Israeli security forces, a recent briefing at the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission has revealed.
The remarks were made by Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran, who attended the commission meeting on February 5, 2020 to brief members on a Turkey-Palestine security cooperation agreement that was previously signed.
“… Of course, we aim at strengthening the capacity of Palestinian security [authorities] and fighting organized crime in line with this agreement. In fact, the training of Palestinian security forces and strengthening their capacity will create a significant [Palestinian] resistance against Israel’s occupation policies and its oppression [in Palestine]. Strengthening Palestine will, indeed, enable the country to resist Israel’s occupation and oppressive policies more robustly and with greater capacity,” he told lawmakers.
The security cooperation agreement was signed during the first Turkey-Palestine Joint Committee meeting held in Ankara on October, 25, 2018 under the chairmanship of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Dr. Riad Malki.
In the text of the agreement, obtained by Nordic Monitor, Turkey and Palestine pledge to cooperate in fighting transnational crime, in particular crimes related to terrorism, organized crime, goods and migrants smuggling and trafficking in persons, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and their precursors.
According to the security accord, Turkey and Palestine will exchange information and experience with regards to methods in preventing and combating terrorism, including acts of hostage taking and highjacking, and the weapons, equipment and technical installation used in combatting terrorism.
“The Parties shall cooperate and exchange information by monitoring the movements of the technological equipment, all kinds of weapons and ammunition, which can be used in preparation and perpetration of terrorist acts, with the aim of preventing terrorist organizations from acquiring them,” Article 2 (3.e) states.
The 11-article agreement was submitted to parliament for ratification on September 13, 2019 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
President Erdoğan’s letter submitted to parliament seeking approval of the agreement with Palestine:Erdogan_Filistin_agreement_letter
The agreement allows both sides to appoint liaison officers to increase the efficiency of interaction and coordination of joint actions. According to the text, the party states will carry out training certificate courses and postgraduate and doctoral programs and conduct projects for providing support in fields such as “tools, trainings, technical assistance, material donation and consultancy,” with the aim of increasing the administrative and institutional capacities of law enforcement institutions.
The personnel of the parties will be subject to the laws and valid legislation of the country in which they are staying. The terms of the agreement will be executed by the interior ministries of both sides. The accord will be in effect for five years and will be renewed upon the agreement of the parties.
The agreement was initialed on October 25, 2018 in Ankara by Turkish Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı and Palestinian Deputy Interior Minister Gen. Mohamad Mansour.
The security cooperation agreement is posted below:
Nordic Monitor previously reported how security cooperation agreements have emerged as a significant mechanism used by the regime of President Erdoğan since the Gezi anti-government protests of 2013 to harass journalists and critics living abroad. According to Nordic Monitor research, the content of the security agreements has changed in parallel with the transformation of national legislation, and the new documents contain ambiguous copy-paste phrases designed to suppress government opponents outside the country, while the number of agreements has increased since the Gezi uprising.
Similar to previous security accords, the text of the agreement also contains some phrases that could be used by the Turkish government to expand its crackdown on government critics and facilitate political prosecution and intelligence operations in Palestine.
“The Parties shall prevent the activities of the visual and written media organs of terrorist organizations and their front institutions operating in their territories against the other Party,” Article 2 states, adding that “The Parties shall develop and implement efficient combatting measures regarding the persons and institutions providing financial or other support including sheltering, accommodation, training and treatment and logistic support to the terrorist organizations in their territories.”
Speaking at the commission meeting, Deputy Director General of Turkish National Police Erhan Gülveren, an important ultranationalist figure in Turkish law enforcement, underlined the fact that “thanks to the agreement, we [Turkey] will witness progress in the government’s fight against FETÖ and other terrorist organizations”. FETÖ is a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement.
President Erdoğan turned against the movement after major corruption investigations in December 2013 that incriminated Erdoğan, his family members and his business and political associates. In May 2016 Erdogan’s Turkey designated the group as a terrorist entity without any evidence that Gülen or people affiliated with the movement had committed any terrorist acts. Then, a coup attempt in July 2016 was carried out under Erdoğan’s direction as a pretext for an ensuing crackdown. Interestingly, Erdoğan called the failed coup “a gift from God.”
Following the abortive putsch, Turkey forced international and regional organizations to list the movement as a terrorist organization. Their assessment of the Gülen movement, however, differed noticeably from that of Turkey, and the Turkish government’s bilateral and multilateral initiatives were rejected. So far, EU member states and the United States do not share Turkey’s characterization of the movement, nor has the US responded favorably to Ankara’s demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen and his supporters to Turkey.
President Erdoğan and his foreign minister continue giving the impression that the UN, EU, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and other organizations have classified the Gülen movement as a terrorist group in spite of decisions made by these institutions and the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and local courts in the civilized world.
Moreover, the UN Committee Against Torture decided in June 2019 that extradition of those who were thought to be members of the Gülen movement, would constitute a breach of Article 3 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
In addition to the international rulings, the high courts of Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Brazil recently decided that the Gülen movement has never committed any act of terrorism and that the extradition of members of the movement to Turkey may result in the prosecution or punishment of a person for reasons of race, religion, political or ideological opinion or membership in a certain social group.